LOGANVILLE, Pa. (WHTM) – Harrisburg Fire Lt. Dennis DeVoe saved five lives after he died. He chose to be an organ donor.
Missy Sweitzer is the mother of a fallen volunteer firefighter who made the same decision.
“Zac was the oldest of our three children. He had an infectious personality. He absolutely loved life,” Sweitzer said.
Zac Sweitzer served the community at the Loganville Volunteer Fire Company, but his life was cut short at only 20 years old.
“On Thanksgiving morning, 2008, he was on his way home from his girlfriend’s house and his truck was hit by another vehicle. She was an underage impaired driver,” Sweitzer said.
Zac decided to be an organ donor when he got his first driver’s license at age 16. Little did he know he would save six lives through that donation.
“I knew I had to give somebody else a second chance at life,” Sweitzer said. “If anything, I wanted somebody to have his heart because I truly believe he had a heart of gold.”
Zac and DeVoe also helped out people through tissue donation. DeVoe’s tissue will help out in 50 to 100 operations.
DeVoe worked at the Mt. Pleasant Fire Co. #8. He was on his way to a fire in Harrisburg when police say an impaired driver struck his vehicle. He passed away the next day.
“Both gentlemen are true heroes, heroes in life and heroes in their passing, and I think it’s pretty amazing that they’re able to do that,” said Dwendy Johnson, a community relations supervisor with the Gift of Life Donor Program.
“Your son, who I’ll never see this side of eternity, though is still giving life, and that’s what is able to make me smile and give me hope,” Sweitzer said.
Around 8,000 people are waiting for an organ donation in Pennsylvania, and 22 people die every day in the United States waiting for one, according to Johnson.
For more information on becoming an organ donor, click here.